52 pies in 52 weeks; a round up of sorts

it has been nearly two years since i finished the 52 pies in 52 weeks challenge.  hard to believe-time flies!  even so, if you recall, i invited readers to join in and bake the pies with me and send photos of their pie so that i could post them.  very few people sent me photos and i am not sure that many people even baked pies.   so imagine my surprise when i received an email with a photo of a pie!

this is the maple-pecan butternut squash pie from week #10 as baked by aimee.  to see the full recipe, follow this link.  and remember, if you bake one, send me the photo-this is proof that i will post it!

is it custard or cream? coconut cream pie-#21 of 52 pies

i am not sure what has happened but suddenly, it seems that i am constantly playing catch up.  no matter what is going on, i just feel like i am falling far behind…take this post for instance.  the pie was done on time, the photos too but when i looked at the calendar, it was suddenly tuesday!!!  as i have said before, it’s that time of year when we have lots to take care of and we are spending as much time as possible tending to the garden.

for those of you who are familiar with my job, you know that i make coconut custard pies-tons of them each week.  they are pretty tasty too.  often i find myself trying to explain the difference between coconut custard and coconut cream.  so here goes…a custard is usually a dairy product that is thickened with eggs; it can be sweet or savory and it can also have other thickeners like flour or cornstarch in it.  while almost all cream fillings are based on a custard, not all custards are creams.  sounds like i’m mincing words doesn’t it?  mainly, it is a lot of opinion but simply put, the main differences between a cream and custard fillings are when and how they are cooked.  in the case of coconut cream and coconut custard pies, the latter is cooked on a stovetop and cooled in a prepared crust while the former is baked in the crust.  since i make the custard version on a nearly daily basis, i decided to go with the cream version this time.

coconut cream pie
1 (9″) deep dish pie that serves 8-10
1 (9″) chocolate cookie crust-homemade or store bought
1 1/4 cup shredded coconut-do not use the fine cut macaroon coconut
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1 (14oz) can coconut milk-do not use the reduced fat variety
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1″ piece vanilla bean
whipped cream, recipe follows
preheat the oven to 350.  toast the coconut until it is a nice and even golden brown color.  reserve 1/4 cup for the garnish.  place the cornstarch in a heat proof bowl, add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until smooth. place the remaining milk, coconut milk, sugar and vanilla bean in a heavy bottom sauce pot and heat over medium heat.  whisk the eggs into the cornstarch mixture.  when the milk comes to a gentle boil, remove it from the heat and whisk it into the eggs.  pour this mixture back into the pot and place it over medium low heat.  while whisking constantly, bring it to a gentle boil again for one minute to fully cook the starch and the custard.  off the heat, remove the vanilla bean, stir in the coconut and pour it into the pie crust.  press plastic wrap to the surface and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.  make the whipped cream and spread it over the top of the pie and decorate with the remaining coconut.
whipped cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar
in a chilled bowl, combine the ingredients and whip until moderately stiff peaks form.  take care not to whip it too stiff or it will be difficult to smooth it out or even worse, you will have butter…

the latest pie round up

this weeks entry comes to us from benni.  you may recall that she has baked one of my pies before and sent photos.  this time, she chose to make the peanut butter and chocolate swirl pie.  the family loved it and if you look at the photos, you can see that she barely had time to take a photo at all…
thanks for baking with me benni!  for all of you who dare, and i do dare you, double dog dare you to go ahead and bake my day-i mean pie.  send me photos and i promise i will post it here!  bakinbabe116@aol.com

it’s 3/14!!! happy pi(e) day!!! #15 of 52, peanut butter & chocolate pie

forget the math, eat pie!!!  it’s like i have a holiday of my own just to celebrate this blog challenge!!!  so in honor of the day, i pulled out all the stops anad relived a vintage tv commercial.  and for those of you who do not remember: 

now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s make a pie…around my house, pie is not something that gets eaten quickly unless it is ice cream or something chocolate.  add peanut butter to that and it will be gone in a flash.

chocolate cookie crumb crust

peanut butter and chocolate fillings are poured into the dish and then swirled together with a skewer

the finished pie before baking

the pie after baking

peanut butter and chocolate pie

1 (10″) deep dish pie that serves 8-10

preheat the oven to 325.  make the crust and then the two fillings.  pour each of the fillings into a measuring cup or pitcher with a 2 cup capacity.  alternately pour 1 cup of each filling into the center of the crust.  you will have a series of rings, see photo above.  swirl the two together gently.  bake for about an hour or until the pie is slightly puffed around the edges and a little firm in the center.  cool completely and chill before cutting and serving.  serve with whipped cream if desired.

1 1/3 cup cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
combine the cookie crumbs and sugar.  pour in the butter and mix.  press evenly up the sides and across the bottom of the pie plate.  for the best consistency, use cookies that are not high in fat.  graham crackers, wafers or undipped biscotti will be lower in fat.  high fat cookies will make a crust that is greasy and hard to press into the pan smoothly.

peanut butter filling
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup-light
1/3 cup half and half
1/3 cup peanut butter-homogenized!
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
place all ingredients in a bowl and use that elbo grease to whisk it together until it is smooth!

chocolate filling
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup half and half
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
melt the chocolate and half and half in a microwave using the lowest heat setting.  the goal is to melt but not overheat so use short intervals of 30-45 seconds.  whisk the chocolate with the brown sugar.  whisk in the eggs, one at a time.  whisk in the corn syrup and the vanilla.  to get a smooth and emulsified filling, follow the order as listed and do not try to take shortcuts-the chocolate can separate and it will not taste good or have a creamy texture.

this week’s round up!!!
many thanks to gwen daniels for sending photos of the maple pecan tart with butternut squash.  she also posted it up on her blog and you can read the full post here.  

well done gwen!  thanks for sharing photos and your blog page!   now for the rest of you out there-bake one, send me photos and see it here.  bakinbabe116@aol.com is the address and have a happy pi(e) day, y’all…

sawdust pie, #4 of 52 and the first round up photos

this last week was one big bake-a-thon. cookies, cookies and more cookies…cranberry sauce, gingerbread trees, pie shells and of course, a pie for the weekly challenge. two pies, actually and they came out tastier than i would have thought possible.
gingerbread stars, chocolate cherry cha-chas and peanut butter granola cookies with chocolate chips were only a few of the cookies i baked. the gingerbread stars were stacked to form a tree and all were used to make cookie trays for friends and neighbors.
each year we travel to my cousin’s house in paducah, ky to celebrate christmas with his family. as we drive up i24, we pass a brown tourist sign for a place called patti’s 1880’s settlement…whatever, mumbo jumbo. it doesn’t matter, we don’t stop on this trip since it is only 2 hours and from what i have heard, it is a touristy place. anyway, i was curious about what it was one day a long time ago (we have been making this drive for 10 years) and i looked them up to see if maybe it might be a place to visit and in the process, i discovered that they are famous for sawdust pie. my capacity for remembering useless information sometimes helps me out and it was because of this talent that i remembered sawdust pie and thought i would try it for this week’s challenge.
virtually every recipe i encountered was the same-egg whites, sugar, graham cracker crumbs, pecans and coconut. can i just say that i am not a fan of graham cracker crumbs, at all. in the cafe, i have buckets of biscotti crumbs in several flavors that i make myself from biscotti that i make so i do not have to use graham cracker crumbs, ever. well, i decided to go ahead and follow the recipe, kinda sorta in my own fashion. we always have cinnamon graham crackers in the closet because you never know when it might be a smores night so i used them instead of the plain kind. the other changes i made were to toast the pecans and the coconut and add a little vanilla extract to the list. i followed the directions and was surprised that the outcome was a lot better than i expected. then i went on and made a chocolate version to test my theory that this pie can be made with many different combinations of crumbs, nuts and coconut.
for the chocolate version, i used chocolate graham crackers and sliced, natural almonds which were first toasted and then pulsed in the food processor to make them more like sawdust.

chocolate and vanilla sawdust pies
the original recipe i used is here. the intro to the recipe mentioned whipping the egg whites but the directions said nothing about that. i looked at half a dozen recipes and none of them mentioned whipping the egg whites so i eliminated that and just whisked things together. we also did not bother with the suggestion of serving this with whipped cream and bananas-it was plenty sweet without that.
sawdust pie-1 (9″) pie serving about 8, adapted from allrecipes.com
if you use purchased whites rather than separating your own, use no more than 1 liquid cup, regardless of what the chart on the carton tells you-the pie will be dry with more than a cup. when you buy graham crackers, they have several packages in each box and one package will be enough to make the pie-grind that one package and measure out what is needed.
1 prebaked 9″ pie shell (refer to pie #2 for hints on this)
7 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs-any flavor
1 1/2 cups toasted nuts, pulse them in the food processor if they are large pieces
1 1/2 cups toasted flake coconut
preheat the oven to 350. partially bake the pie crust and toast the nuts and coconut if you haven’t done so already. place the pie pan on a sturdy baking sheet. in a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites, sugar and vanilla until thoroughly mixed. fold in the crumbs, nuts and coconut and pour into the pie crust. bake until set, it will be slightly glossy on top and it will puff up and feel firm to the touch around the sides but the middle will be a little soft, about 45 minutes. allow the pie to cool before cutting.
my first pie round up!!!

imagine my surprise when i checked my email and found photos from a baker that had used my tamale pie recipe. it was a nice christmas present, even better was the fact that her family enjoyed the pie.

jennifer maier and her daughter made the pie together and it was well received by the family.

looks delicious, by the way, my family devoured it too! great job jennifer, i look forward to more photos, hint hint…
to anyone that cares to bake along, send me photos and i will post them. email me at bakinbabe116@aol.com and your photos will be added to the next entry. have a safe and happy new year!